One of the many things that makes WOMADelaide so special is the plethora of new artists and experiences to encounter over four days. We've compiled a few hidden gems from this year's lineup that you might not have heard of, with plenty more to come:
A Bit na Ta (PNG / Australia)
A Bit na Ta, meaning "The Source of the Sea”, has a deep connection to WOMADelaide and its roots. This multi-disciplinary collaboration celebrates the Tolai people of East New Britain, where George Telek, one half of the collaboration, is deemed a superstar. Composer and producer of the music from A Bit na Ta is David Bridie, who performed at the first WOMADelaide in 1992 with Not Drowning, Waving, and George Telek consequently perfomed at WOMADelaide in 2001! A Bit na Ta is a musical immersion in the history, culture and spiritual essence of the unique region of New Guinea; a journey of sublime filmic atmospheres, exhilarating acoustic energy and timeless devotion to a place buffeted by world wars, political unrest and natural disasters.
Elephant Sessions (Scotland)
Saturday + Sunday
Winners of the BBC Scots Trad Music Awards ‘Album of the Year’ in 2017, Elephant Sessions have exploded onto the scene with startling effect. Their fiery live shows have earned them numerous nominations and have garnered praise across Europe and the UK. Rolling Stone Magazine said “these Scots are using their instruments like weapons to destroy cliches”, which is hard to deny when you listen to their enticing indie folk dancefloor innovations. If you haven’t heard of Elephant Sessions, perhaps get to know them before WOMADelaide 2018!
Eva Quartet (Bulgaria)
Sunday + Monday
The four heavenly voices of Gergana (soprano), Sofia (mezzo-soprano), Evelina (alto) and Daniela (contralto) can effortlessly blend to sound like one voice. Spontaneously founded in 1995 in Bulgaria, the quartet impart an amazing presence to the authentic sounds and songs from around the country. Masters of the microtonal textures and diaphonic structures of Bulgarian folklore music, if there was only one singer on stage, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a single layered voice. The genius and genuine talent of these four women makes them so mesmerising to experience.
Saturday + Sunday
Challenging Tank and The Bangas for our favourite band name on the 2018 lineup, Dustyesky are a 28 piece men’s choir who sing Red Army songs, folk standards and orthodox hymns… from Mullimbimby. The group who have met every Tuesday night at the ex-services club for three years, sing with love and respect and a rich vein of humour in every performance. Despite residing in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Dustyesky’s big break came through a Russian news story that broadcast the Australian choir to over 250 million people. The choir shot us through a little slice of Christmas cheer recently during a rehearsal and it will certainly fill your hearts :)
Violons Barbares (France / Bulgaria / Mongolia)
Friday + Saturday
The unique sound of Violons Barbares comes from the interception of three traditional cultures in Mongolia, Bulgaria and France. Using elements of each of these countries accustomed sounds, the music of the trio weaves in and around balkan melodies, galloping rhythms and majestic throat singing. The energetic music created conveys a truly global and unique genre.
Rajab Suleiman & Kithara (Zanzibar)
Saturday + Monday
Hands up who's been to Zanzibar? For over a century, the lush combination of Arabic and Western instruments with delicate poetry and soaring vocals has formed Zanzibar’s gorgeous Taarab music. In 2012 the virtuosic qanun player Rajab Suleiman formed his Kithara mini-orchestra and added mesmerising vocalist Saada Nassor, aiming to revitalise the form, honour the past and stir new musical conversations.
Have a listen to this seriously groovy jam and get ready to make them feel very welcome at WOMADelaide 2018!